Drum Practice

Does drumming count as a workout?

Are you looking to exercise more and wondering, does drumming count as a workout? Discover our tips for using drumming for exercise!

When you go to a gig, you’ll often see the drummer dripping with sweat, but is that because drumming is a good workout? The truth is yes – playing the drums is a great cardio workout, and can be a great choice for people who aren’t interested in other fitness routines like running or going to the gym.

On the surface, it might seem that drumming isn’t that good for fitness purely for the fact that a drummer is usually sat down. This is far from the truth – drummers use all four limbs – so like many other exercises, you’ll be using most of your body if you take up drumming.

How many calories does drumming burn?

A study by Joshua T. Brown in August 2016 for Western Kentucky University looked at exactly this question, specifically among heavy metal drummers. The study notes that heavy metal drumming requires speed and endurance that can be metabolically demanding, among the most active drumming styles. The study found that in a 40-minute session, the energy expenditure was 387.05 Kilocalories, plus or minus 83 kilocalories for the 8 healthy test subjects, aged between 20 and 37.

How does that compare to other sports? The study indicates that this style of drumming is equivalent to resistance training, running at 4 mph, or rowing. The study concludes that yes, heavy metal drumming is a form of physical activity.

Other styles of drumming will be physically demanding too, though possibly not quite as demanding as heavy metal drumming, being one of the most extreme styles.

What are the health benefits of drumming?

Drumming is great for your cardiovascular health as well as for building and toning muscle, thanks to the physical nature of this instrument. But the health benefits go beyond simply fitness. Some of the other benefits include:

  • Coordination across all four of your limbs
  • Stress relief
  • Improved happiness from releasing endorphins
  • A sense of accomplishment when you learn and build your drumming skills

How to fit drumming into an exercise routine

If you’re wondering whether drumming counts as a workout, it may be that other forms of exercise simply don’t interest you. That could help make drumming a better addition to your routine than a gym membership or a weekly run, as a big part of achieving success with exercise is the motivation behind it.

You may find drumming can be a fun way to exercise because it’s not the exercise itself that’s motivating you to do it – it’s the music!

Aside from the desire to actually play, a good way to build drumming into your exercise routine is to practice regularly. For example, you could block out 30-40 minute sessions in your diary each week, or more if you can!


Playing the drums for exercise without the noise

Unfortunately, not everyone can have a full-sized acoustic drum kit in their house as noise can be a real issue to neighbours or the people you live with. If you think drumming could be the right fitness tool for you, then noise can be a real barrier. Fortunately, there are ways around it.

An electronic drum kit means you can practice more regularly without disturbing the neighbours. At eDrumHub, we think an electric drum kit can be a great investment for beginners, but we recommend trying to get access to an acoustic kit in other ways, for example by visiting a drum tutor or using a drum kit at a practice studio.

Featured image by Carlos Coronado

By Seb Atkinson

Seb has been a drummer since 2004 and an eDrummer since 2008. He founded eDrumHub to provide information on electronic drums for other drummers who can't justify an acoustic drum kit for practice at home.